On the runway in Germany’s Magic Cities this fall are unusual shopping environments created in elegant promenades, charming passageways, historic buildings and futuristic, glass arcades. The cities of Germany’s nine-member city alliance, including Berlin, Cologne, Dresden, Duesseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Munich and Stuttgart, are brimming with luxurious shopping and trendy fashions in a most unusual variety of market halls, passages and arcades

Berlin’s grande dame of shopping, the luxury department store, KaDeWe, takes center stage next year as it celebrates its 100th anniversary. The Kaufhaus des Westens (commonly called KaDeWe), today is the largest department store in continental Europe, and has seen Berlin through good times and bad. With merchandise ranging from high-end international fashion, to home design, from luxury paper goods to beauty products, leather goods, and accessories, there is nothing the sophisticated shopper can’t find on the store’s six floors of elegant retail space. www.kadewe.de

Renzo Piano’s recently completed new Peek & Cloppenburg department store, or “Weltstadthaus,” in Cologne is a civic monument to shopping. It resembles a huge glass worm in the middle of Cologne’s busiest shopping area on the Schildergasse. The inside of the building is bathed in light and protected from the sun by various shades. The solar control panel fulfils the special demands of a trend setting department store: Rooms flooded with daylight to present the true colors of apparel and accessories. www.peekandcloppenburg.de or www.koelntourismus.de

Now for secret passageways! One of Dresden’s most special shopping areas is called the “Kunsthandwerkerpassagen,” or Artisans’ Passages. They are located on Hauptstrasse, Dresden’s beloved pedestrian street, behind the beautiful baroque facades of the buildings 9 to 19. Behind these doors are six artisans’ passages that are home to many small crafts businesses, including jewelry, leather goods, carvings, porcelain manufacturers and more, which you can buy and watch being created. www.hauptsache-hauptstrasse and www.kunsthandwerkerpassagen.hauptsache-hauptstrasse.de (German only) The combination of the beautiful baroque architecture and the beautiful arts and crafts creates a wonderful experience. www.dresden.de

In Duesseldorf, the shopping is big, bold and beautiful. The names of designers having an address on the Koenigsalle, or “Koe”read like the ‘Who’s who’ of the fashion business. Separated by a river running through it, the elegant and ever so obvious Koenigsalle has two personalities. The eastern side presents the elegant stores and galleries of the international fashion scene and the cafes where you see and be seen. While the western side of the boulevard houses most of the country’s big banks, documenting in an impressive way the idea that money is earned on one side of the Koe and spent on the other. www.duesseldorf-tourismus.de

Despite its nickname, “Main-hattan,” Frankfurt am Main actually presents two charming, village-like shopping districts: Sachsenhausen and Bornheim. They are known for their elegant and alternative boutiques, tea shops, apple wine pubs and flower markets. Along Bornheim’s Bergerstrasse, you will find unusual fashion and accessory boutiques, such as Bluemmerling which will sell you “Made in happy Germany” bags, belts and clothing. Gate 05 offers the truly latest in travel fashions and accessories. Just behind the Museum Embankment on the Main, Sachsenhausen slips the visitor back in time to small cafes and shopping squares with modern boutiques and bustling streets. www.frankfurt-tourismus.de

Hamburg’s beautiful, glass covered shopping arcades and promenades make it seem that you are outdoors when you are really in. In the city center, there is the glass covered Hanse-viertel where you can enjoy a macchiato or a glass of champagne in between shopping forays. The Gaensemarkt, the Alte Post and the Bleichenhofstrasse, the Jungfernstieg and the Wandelhalle and even the Levantehaus, with its Steiff Teddy Bear Gallery, are exquisite, cosmopolitan arcades with unusual shops, boutiques and delicacies. On October 5th, a new glass covered arcade, the Europa Passage, will open to the public. www.hamburg-tourismus.de

When one thinks of Hannover, one may envision trade fairs or some of the world’s greatest horses or Nikki de Saint Phalle, whose sculptures adorn the city’s sidewalks. For shopping-lovers, Hannover is all about fun and unusual specialty boutiques especially those along the Georgstrasse between the opera house and the Aegidientorplatz. More alternative shops are those located around the Marktkirche and the Lister Meile shopping street. Every Saturday, bargain hunters scramble for the best deals at the flea market which takes place on the banks of the River Leine. www.hannover-tourism.de

Munich is where the beautiful people go and do beautiful shopping in beautiful stores! But what everyone can enjoy at any budget level are the antiques market and the restored Schrannenhalle. The antiques market in Daglfing is located just outside the city center. It is easily reachable by train and is open every second Sunday of the month. The Schrannenhalle, a former corn market not far from the Frauenkirche, re-opened last year after extensive renovation. The 19th century glass and iron construction was a first in the 1850s and today houses more than 50 market and craftsmen stalls each with its own individual architectural design. www.muenchen-tourist.de

Reputed to be one of Germany’s finest market halls, Stuttgart Market Hall was built in Jugendstil design in 1914. This impressive building today is a veritable paradise, full of epicurean delights and stylish and attractive household furnishings and garden equipment. On the ground floor, shopkeepers present their artistically and appetizingly displayed produce at a total of 38 stalls. The great variety of goods is guaranteed by the many different nationalities of the stallholders: 4 are from Italy, 4 from Greece, 2 from Hungary, 1 from Asia, 1 from Iran, 1 from Turkey, 1 from France and 22 from Germany. Its successful combination of specialities from the four corners of the earth, high-class articles for an elegant ambience in the kitchen, house and garden, and tempting catering makes shopping in this historic architecture a special occasion. www.stuttgart-tourist.de

For more information, go to www.magic-cities.com

For more on Germany at ITKT